The Show Can’t Go On: How Fashion Maven Manish Arora Let Down His Employees and Lost His Label

Social Commentary

The Show Can’t Go On: How Fashion Maven Manish Arora Let Down His Employees and Lost His Label

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Manish Arora is one of the most celebrated names in the Indian fashion industry. His self-titled label is popular both in India and abroad, and his level of success on the global platform is one that few of his compatriots can match. But now, as the label goes into liquidation while facing litigation over unpaid dues by vendors and former employees, that fame is quickly turning into notoriety. A New York Times report titled “For a Leading Light of Indian Fashion, All That Glitters Is Not Gold” chronicles the many missteps that led to the downfall of the design mogul.

The report tells a story that would not be out of place on the recently released Netflix series Bad Boy Billionaires. Though Arora’s shady dealings may not match those of the billionaires in terms of scale, in spirit they share much in common. Just like the scams chronicled on the show, at the centre of the Manish Arora story there is a charismatic entrepreneur with a taste for the finer things in life, who builds their brand through self-promotion, and when things start to go wrong, protects themselves while leaving their employees in the cold. The NYT story covers all these developments, noting that the label’s decline began well before this year’s pandemic, though that was the death blow.

Reportedly, unpaid employees were informed via email that they would not be paid their October wages since the company was entering liquidation. The NYT report features quotes from both former employees as well as third-party vendors who allege that they are still owed dues from Arora. Meanwhile, while his company was crumbling, Arora continued to pursue his opulent lifestyle, including New Year’s celebrations in Goa and a high-end apartment in Paris.

For the man once known as the “John Galliano of India”, 2020 has been a fall from grace for Manish Arora.